Twins share experiences

Six sets in Marshall High School senior class

Photo by Jim Muchlinski The Marshall High School Class of 2023 includes six sets of twins. All 12 twin seniors are pictured in the photo, including twin brothers Jack and Charlie Miller, twin sisters Karissa and Marissa Talamantes, and four sets of fraternal mixed twins. The brother and sister pairs include Rebecca and Andrew Thielges, Sydney and Zach Kramer, Bri and Brandon Simpson, and Kaityln and Keaton Runia.

MARSHALL — Success stories sometimes come in pairs for the Marshall senior class of 2023.

The class includes six sets of twins. They are Jack and Charlie Miller, Rebecca and Andrew Thielges, Sydney and Zach Kramer, Bri and Brandon Simpson, Kaitlyn and Keaton Runia, and Karissa and Marissa Talamantes.

In a group interview, the six sets of twins shared their experiences growing up as duos, attending school in the same class, and being close-knit siblings while still forging individual identities.

They also discussed their plans after graduation. Some plan to go separate ways for college, while others intend to stay together.

The Miller twins found as young children that being identical in outward appearance was bound to cause some confusion among peers and sometimes even teachers.

“They often called us by the wrong name,” Jack said. “We got used to it. We decided to just answer to both names. That was the easiest way to handle it.”

They now differentiate from each other by the length of their hair. Jack’s is shoulder length while Charlie’s is longer.

The twins gave different answers when it comes to personalities. Some said they have similar personality traits, while others pointed to differences.

The Runias said they both take a serious approach to school. They consider themselves friendly and people oriented, but quiet as well.

“We’re very similar,” Kaitlyn said. “We both like to read. We enjoy activities like sports, honor society and BPA (Business Professionals of America).”

Their sense of unity was strengthened in kindergarten when it was determined that Keaton wasn’t ready for first grade. Teachers and their parents decided to hold both Keaton and Kaitlyn back for a year.

Andrew Thielges said he and his sister Rebecca have a combination of similarities and differences. A main difference involves Andrew being more likely to want to stay busy by going out.

“I’m more outgoing,” Andrew said. “She has friends and socializes, but she’s quieter. Sometimes she’s the one who’s more likely to stay home. People have gotten used to our differences.”

All sets of twins found that Marshall High School gave them a good chance to be themselves, to choose activities that enabled them to succeed as individuals.

Some of them plan to go their separate ways after graduation. The Simpsons said they always knew they’d choose different schools.

“We’ll be going to totally different states,” Bri said. “We got along growing up, but we felt it was time to go to different places. We’re ready to be on our own.”

Kaitlyn Runia said she talked to her brother about maybe going to the same college, but that in the end they also decided to lead separate college lives.

Zach Kramer said he and his sister Sydney decided to both attend Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa because of a desire to continue family ties.

‘We both wanted to have at least one friendly face,” Zach said. “It’s like having a built-in friend. If either one of us needs something, we’ll have the other person to go to.”

Karissa and Marissa Talamantes will both attend Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Like the Kramers, they wanted their team approach to life to carry them through their years as undergraduates.

“We’ve always been friends,” Karissa said. “We thought it would be difficult to go away from home without each other. This way we’ll have more of a support system.”

Marshall High School Principal Brian Jones said all six sets of twins represent some of Marshall’s best. He added that all of the pairs support each other, but that they also successfully reach out to others.

They’re all very good kids,” Jones said. “They knew how to get the most of out of high school. I’m sure all 12 will have continued success as they pursue future goals.”


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